In the doghouse

Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Liz. She found a fine robin’s pin cushion on a wild rose when she was out walking today. It is a gall caused by the larvae of a tiny gall wasp, Dipoloepis rosae.

We had another grey cool day today, but it was pleasant enough for a walk round the garden before coffee with Margaret. . .

. . . and calm enough for us to sit out in the garden when Margaret came.

From where I was sitting and sipping, I could see the back of a geranium and I thought that it made a good picture.

Liz showed me her rose gall picture when she got back from her walk in time to join us for coffee, and she brought her dog Riley with her.

Riley is in the doghouse because he spilt a full two litre can full of expensive paint all over several rugs yesterday when he jumped up and knocked it off a shelf. It had not even been opened so you can imagine that Liz was not best pleased with him. However, she had forgiven him enough to take him on her walk today, and he looked suitably penitent (or perhaps hangdog).

After coffee, I did quite a lot of dead heading and sieved another batch of compost while Mrs Tootlepedal did a fair bit of watering to try to keep things going until it rains.

Starlings played jokes on me. They came and sat in the rowan tree . . .

. . . but didn’t peck at any berries unless I had put down my camera and picked up my secateurs. We had several goes at this joke before I gave up and looked at flowers, which don’t run away, instead.

Both the red and pale astrantias are having a second go at flowering, the clematis by the front door has put out a lone blossom, and the Roseraie de L’Hay has got an unexpected runner in the last rose of summer stakes. The bees keep coming but there were very few butterflies today.

Before I went in for lunch, I sat on the bench outside the kitchen window and enjoyed a number of blue tits visiting the feeder . . .

. . . but they were too nippy for me to catch a good shot of them flying between the feeder and the plum tree.

When I went inside and looked out, they were still about . . .

. . . but the feeder soon got busy with other birds.

A greenfinch arrived and threw its weight about.

I made some lentil and carrot soup for lunch and wasted time before getting up the energy to put on my cycling clothes and go off for a pedal.

I took the easy way out of Langholm, and headed down through Canonbie using the old main road. I joined the main road proper and got to Lontown before I made up my mind where I was going to go. My legs were anxious to avoid any steep hills, so I headed east out of the town towards the little windfarm . . .

. . . which has been plunked down on an old airfield. My route took me along the top of the windfarm and then back westwards along the far side. I like the north Cumbrian back roads as they are usually well surfaced and very quiet.

I kept going west and crossed over both the Longtown to Brampton road and the Longtown to Carlisle road until I found myself on a very minor road whch has two nice bridges on it. The first crosses a small brook . . .

. . . and the second crosses an old railway line which in a better conducted world would be part of a cycle path from Langholm to Carlisle and not a farm track.

It is a substantial bridge . . .

. . . but I haven’t found a way to get down to take a photograph of it so I leaned over the parapet and did my best.

The hedge beside the bridge was full of white wild flower. They turned out to be white campion and dead nettles.

Just before I got back to Longtown, I stopped to admire Arthuret Church. There has been a church here since the sixth century but this one was built in 1609 by royal command. It has an ancient graveyard on one side of the church . . .

. . . and a modern very well tended one on the other side.

I didn’t fancy cycling back up the main road so I headed across country back to Langholm, eating a few blackberries from the hedges for added energy, and ended up with 38 miles to add to my yearly total.

The day brightened up a lot as I cycled the last few miles home and I found Mrs Tootlepedal sitting in the garden enjoying the evening when I got home.

She made baked plums on toast for pudding for our evening meal so the day worked out pretty well for another grey day.

The icing on the cake for Mrs Tootlepedal was seeing the hedgehog in the garden when she went out to smell the nicotianas as dusk fell. The hedgehog had scurried under the plants in a border by the time that I came out so there is no picture of it. I looked up and snapped a passing military helicopter instead.

The flying bird of the day is an aspiring siskin.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “In the doghouse

  1. I once spent a very long time scouring my wildflower books to identify these amazing wildflowers – not found of course as it was, I learned much later, robin’s pincushion.

  2. Oh, Riley! At least he looks contrite. The Robin’s Pincushion is wonderful – very inventive of the wasps! I like the idea of the windfarm being plunked down.

  3. I once found a gall much like the one on the rose on a blackberry cane. Of course the two plants are in the same family, so it makes sense. I had quite a time identifying it.
    The back of the geranium is just as pretty as the front.
    It’s hard to imagine all of the history in the plot of ground that the church is built on. I always wonder why they chose that particular place.

  4. The accident with the paint was not only a waiste of money but also very unpleasant…. and also not easy to clean it up ! With young dogs you always have to think ahead…. what could happen, even in your worst nightmare, try to prevent it. They are so inventive πŸ™‚
    Here in Belgium most of the unused railway beddings are transformed in beautiful bike paths. I send you a link of one of the most beautiful one in the east of our country, near to the German boarder.
    https://www.vennbahn.eu/en/
    I already did twoo sections of it and I can realy recommend it to everybody who likes biking.
    Have a lovely sunday.
    Greetz,
    Rudi

  5. Mystery solved! I found what I now know from your description is a Robin’s Pincushion in our hedge just last week- thank you! I like the photos of the birds with the sunflowers in the background and the back of the geranium – photography makes one very observant!

  6. I was discussing this with Julia earlier in the year after we found a pincushion gall – you don’t seem to see as many of them these days. Or is it just that I was more observant when I was ten years old?

  7. I’m surprised Riley isn’t covered in paint!

    The shapes of the blackened stems in the background of the geranium you shot from behind are quite lovely – almost art nouveau? Very pretty.

  8. I enjoyed all these photos from your day and from your correspondents. Poor Riley! Good thing he is sweet, and old. I have had cats do similar things, fortunately not with paint.

    The gall on the rose was quite interesting. I haven’t seen anything like it here. Most of the galls I see are on oaks.

    I love those well-surfaced, quiet back roads.

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